“Our results extend the known benefits of physical activity to include prostate cancer-specific survival,” said Stephanie Bonn, MSc, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm. “However, it is important to remember that our results are on a group level. An individual’s survival depends on many factors, but physical activity is one factor that individuals can modify. Hopefully, our study can motivate men to be physically active even after a prostate cancer diagnosis.”
Men with localized prostate cancer who walked or cycled for 20 or more minutes a day had a 30 percent decreased risk of death from any cause (overall mortality) and a 39 percent decreased risk of death as a result of their disease (prostate cancer-specific mortality) compared with those who walked or cycled less. For those who engaged in one or more hours of exercise per week, overall and prostate cancer-specific mortality rates were decreased by 26 percent and 32 percent, respectively, compared with less active counterparts.
Bonn and colleagues generated these results after analyzing data from 4,623 men diagnosed with localized prostate cancer from 1997 to 2002 and followed until 2012. Participants in the study were all men in the National Prostate Cancer Register of Sweden Follow-up Study, a retrospective, nationwide cohort study of men with localized prostate cancer who were alive in 2007.
Data on physical activity were obtained through paper- and web-based questionnaires about lifestyle. Information about cause and date of death was obtained from the Swedish Cause-of-Death Registry.
“Nearly all men in Sweden who were diagnosed with localized prostate cancer from Jan. 1, 1997, to Dec. 31, 2002, were included in the National Prostate Cancer Register of Sweden Follow-up Study,” said Bonn. “This means our results are generalizable on the population level. However, our data came only from men who were still alive in 2007, which most likely excludes men with more aggressive disease. Our results are, therefore, most applicable to men with less aggressive disease.”
The study was supported by the Swedish Cancer Society and the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life, and Welfare. Bonn declares no conflicts of interest.